Freelancers and gig workers are now entitled to payslips by law

As part of the government’s Good Work Plan, employers and freelancers must get a payslip detailing the hours they’ve worked in an effort to curb late payments for freelancers and gig workers.

In an effort to keep track of payment and time spent at work, the government has required businesses to include the option for payslips to their gig workers and freelancers.

If you don’t comply, there is a chance that you will be brought up before an employment tribunal. The maximum penalty that employment tribunals can use has also quadrupled from £5,000 to £20,000 under the Good Work Plan.

There’s been a mixed response to this announcement, with some glad that it will help record things for freelancers, while others worry that this is the government trying to get more details on freelancers who haven’t paid tax.  

All in all, it is a response in favour of more meticulous consideration of the freelance struggle, and thus deserves consideration as a potential positive gain for the freelancing community in the UK.  

The changes to the IR35 in the private sector will hit the Self-employed sector hard, say IPSE

The impact of the IR35 changes to self-employed tax law will be severe IPSE fears.

Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s Deputy Director of Policy, commented: “It is definitely welcome to see MPs taking this vital issue seriously.

“We have to be clear: with these changes to IR35, the self-employed sector is barrelling towards disaster in April next year.  

“Lorraine Kelly’s tax tribunal victory – the fourth of five IR35 cases HMRC have lost since 2017 – shows that even the government doesn’t understand this labyrinthine tax legislation. How can it expect private businesses across the UK to?

“This is a crisis for contractors, and IPSE is campaigning hard against it. Visit our website to join our campaign and use our template to write to your MP.”

Self-employed people who work remotely are more productive

Research has found that working remotely is linked to a boost in productivity and flexibility.

IPSE and People Per Hour have found a positive correlation between freelancing and remote working.

When asked what they enjoyed most about remote working, 55% of participants said they have greater flexibility, 34% said they were more productive, 43% said it’s time-saving and 41% said it improves their work-life balance.

One in five people said that they had not experienced any disadvantages of self-employment, which is very positive news. However, like everything, freelancing does have its drawbacks. The researchers found that the top disadvantages of remote working are: difficulty communicating with clients (27%), lack of regular feedback (27%), loneliness (19%), disconnectedness (19%) and lack of team morale (26%).

To tackle these challenges, IPSE and People Per Hour recommend:

  • Superfast broadband: The Government need to provide broadband access to the whole of the UK by 2020.
  • Promote co-working spaces: To combat loneliness, the government should be promoting co-working and look into creating more co-working spaces.
  • Aid client support: Communication is key in all aspects of life, but especially for remote-working freelancers who want to keep sound relationships with their clients. The Government should look into networks and communications channels that would make remote-working more compatible with effective communication.

It’s official: Britain has now endured the longest period of wage stagnation since the Napoleonic wars

Employment is at an all-time high, unemployment at an all-time low, and the minimum wage has been raised to £8.21. But these headline figures mask more disquieting trends. Britain has endured the longest period of average wage stagnation since the Napoleonic Wars 200 years ago and earnings are not expected to return to their pre-crash peak until 2025.

Workers are still £13 a week worse off than in 2007. The problem is not a lack of jobs but a lack of adequately paid ones.

In 2018, as new data from the Office for National Statistics has recently shown, the incomes of the poorest fifth declined by 1.6 per cent, while those of the richest fifth rose by 4.7 per cent. Income inequality, which the Tories long boasted had not risen since the 2008 financial crisis, is now beginning to increase.

This stagnation carries into freelance work, where the expected wages for freelancers and gig workers has still not improved.

Agencies must learn to manage their freelancers

Writer and founder of the Freelance Circle, Casey Bird writes on what agencies need to do in order to effectively and morally manage their freelancers.

1. Shift your mindset from treating freelances as a ‘resource’ to embracing them as short-term team members.

2. Ensure your freelancers have all the IT equipment, building passes set up, a desk space (yes, this one comes up a lot!) and all the forms signed and ready to go – on the first morning, not the first week.

3. Land your briefings and get your ways of working right.

4. Get the money and policies right.

For more details, read here. Some clients desperately need to.

New “rating system” implemented to help protect gig economy workers

The Fairwork Foundation aims to improve working conditions of gig economy workers.

Created by a team of academics, the world’s first ever gig economy working conditions rating system is set to make companies like Uber and Deliveroo improve the way they treat their workers.

It will bring intention to both the positive and negative practices of companies hiring self-employed workers.

Richard Heeks, who is a Professor of Development Informatics at the University of Manchester and one of the academics behind the Fairwork rating system, told Techworld:

“Although there’s a lot of positives about the gig economy – jobs being created, new opportunities, flexibility, all that sort of stuff – the work falls short of International Labour Organisation Decent Work standards”

There are five principles to The Fairwork Foundation: fair work, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation.

One point will be awarded to companies who meet a foundational achievement standard. They can receive an advanced point if they take measures beyond the minimum requirement. Scores then add up to reach 10, the total fairness score.

“They get one point if workers are earning about the minimum wage, and they get the second point if workers are earning above the minimum wage, taking into account their costs. Take the example of an Uber driver: you’d get one point is they were earning anything above the minimum wage directly to their pocket, and you’d get two points if you then subtract, for example, their fuel costs and insurance costs and all of the things they have to pay out in order to be an Uber driver. That’s the basic principle”, explains Professor Heeks.

“The intention is to still allow all of the opportunities and the positives of the gig economy to flow, because we know it’s going to be an increasingly important part of work, but to ensure that those opportunities don’t undercut decent work standards. In other words, the intention to create far more decent gig work jobs.”